the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Monthly Archives: February, 2016

The MINGLE | May 16 Benefit


Honoring: Michael Cerveris and Amanda Freitag

We’ll be playing music, discussing art in the auction, enjoying fabulous hors d’oeuvres and imbibing delicious cocktails, all while mixing and chatting with fun, exciting, creative individuals. Throughout the evening we’ll enjoy performances by favorites of The Secret City as well as very special guests. And if a dance happens to break out…we’ll join in.


The Cultural Calendar | 2.21.16

cultural calandar


Today is Sunday, February 21st, 2016. It is the 52nd day of the year. There are 313 days remaining until the end of the year. We are in the sign of Pisces. There’s a fine line between, “deeply sensitive,” and, “emotional wreck.”


In 1804, the first self-propelling steam locomotive made its first outing at the Penny Darren Ironworks in Wales.
In 1848, Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto.
In 1878, the first telephone directory was issued in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1885, the newly completed Washington Monument was dedicated.
In 1925 The New Yorker magazine published its first issue.
In 1948, NASCAR was incorporated.
In 1956, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel became his 1st hit in Billboard’s top 10.
In 1958, the peace symbol, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in protest against the proliferation of Atomic Weapons, was debuted.
In 1989, U.S. authors demonstrated against Iranian death treats aimed at author Salman Rushdee, because of his novel, The Satanic Verses.
And on this day in 1992, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were married.


French-American author Anais Nin in 1903, English-American poet, W. H. Auden in 1907. American humorist Erma Bombeck in 1927. The high priestess of Soul, Ms. Nina Simone was born on this day in 1933. Golden Girl Rue McClanahan in 1934. English actor, and dearly departed Alan Rickman in 1946. Broadway diva Christine Ebersole in 1953. The great David Foster Wallace was born in 1962. And, ladies and gentlemen, Jennifer Love Hewitt was born on this day in 1979.


Activist Malcolm X was assassinated on this day in 1965. Florence Ballard, one of the original Supremes, died in 1976. Margot Fonteyn, considered the 1st lady of British Ballet, died in 1991.


Our very own Leah Coloff, longtime member of The Secret City band, has been working on a new piece of multimedia theater. ThisTree, based on her album of the same name, explores the idea of family and inheritance through music, images and movement. It’s part of CultureMart, March 8th and 9th at HERE in SOHO.

Also part of CultureMart, Secret City board member, director Kristin Marting presents Assembled Identity, a new work about ethnic identity, twins and cloning. That’s March 8th and 9th at HERE. Check out thei HERE website for more info on the entire CultureMart festival, featuring all new work by the HERE resident artists. That’s

Puppeteer Theodora Skipitares has a new show, Six Characters (a family album) opening April 1st at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater. With a nod to Pirandello, Six Characters explores the idea of family, reality versus illusion, and displacement. Featuring giant puppet figures, video and live music by Sxip Shirey, the evening is highlighted by guest appearances with Margaret Mead and Pirandello himself. Visit for info and tickets.

International Women Artist’s Salon presents Salon Symphony taking place on Internatonal Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 7pm here at Dixon Place. All proceeds support the artistry of women and girls everywhere. Event also includes womanly cocktails, artistic bake sale, and righteous raffle. Contact for more info. Hostess with the mostess Jenny Green is also here today on behalf of The International Women Artists’ Salon if you want to find out more. Raise your hand, Jenny.

And, this afternoon, Free Comedy! Our dear pal Milo Kotis, progeny of Ayun Halliday and Greg Kotis and longtime volunteer here at The Secret City, is performing his first set of stand up with Rick Crom’s Stand Up Comedy Class at 4pm today and again next Sunday at the Comedy Cellar, 117 MacDougal St. Milo is the only teenaged participant in a class full of adults. Look out.


Sidney Grant and Claudio Marcelo Vidal | FEATURED PERFORMERS

claudio sid

The theme for this Sunday’s gathering is THE FORBIDDEN–immediately we thought of the Tango, once considered ‘the forbidden dance’ for its association with sailors and ladies of the night. We reached out to a local tango group–Queer Tango NYC–and they have connected us to Sidney Grant and Claudio Marcelo Vidal, a wonderful male couple who are tango champions. I’m always thrilled to present dance and I’m over the moon that we’ll have these two masters for this Sunday. Join us at 11:30am at Dixon Place.

Here are their bios:

Sidney Grant‘s 25-year career in Ballroom, Latin & Tango includes work on and off Broadway, as well as TV and Film, most notably training Julia Roberts and her cast for the movie Mona Lisa Smile, in which he danced with Academy and Tony-award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden. He has taught extensively in the U.S. , as well as globally in Central/South America, Europe and Asia, most notably Hong Kong. He is Founder/Artistic Director of the acclaimed arts program BALLROOM BASIX™ (, for which he was named New Yorker of the Week on NY1 News. In just 6 years, Grant and his dedicated team of Teaching Artists have taught improved classmate camaraderie through the etiquette and education of partner dancing to over 7,500 schoolchildren.

In, 2011 USA Argentine Tango Champion in NYC, the 1st time an openly gay man ever won. He was Guest of Honor (with Walter and Leo) at the 6th International Queer Tango Festival in BA. More recently, he judged Argentine Tango at both the World Gay Games as well as April Follies, the largest same-sex dance competition in the U.S., where he performed his TIN MAN TANGO with Claudio…as Dorothy!

Claudio Marcelo Vidal was the 1st man in the history of the World Tango Championships to wear heels as a male follower, unheard of in tango’s machisto history. His story was featured in Clarin and Nación, Argentina’s largest newspapers. A nurse for terminally-ill children in Buenos Aires by day, Claudio has become an integral part of Queer Tango ever since his first ‘tanda’ (dance set) with life and artistic partner Sidney Grant over 7 years ago. Since that time, the two have taught and performed in BA, New York, Asheville and San Francisco, and were prominently featured on the cover of the Weekend Arts section of the New York Times.


Claudia Acosta | FEATURED ARTIST

claudia acosta

For this Sunday’s service–Feb 21st, 11:30 at Dixon Place–the theme is THE FORBIDDEN and we’ve assembled a glorious and dynamic line up. For our Cultural Calendar, our dear Claudia Acosta will be joining us. Claudia is a NYC theater maker and teaching artist and we’re always delighted to have her. Join us this Sunday for THE FORBIDDEN and witness the many charms of Claudia Acosta.

Here’s her bio:

Claudia Acosta is a bilingual actor, producer, writer and teaching artist. Off-Broadway: The Architecture of Becoming (Women’s Project),The Hour of the Star (Columbia Stages), Dance for a Dollar (INTAR), Don Cristobal Billy Club Man (HERE Arts Center), Pandora’s (Theater Row). Regional: Guadalupe (Chautauqua Theater Company) Electricidad (Rose Marine Theater), Peter and the Wolf (Bass Performance Hall), Hotel Juarez (Teatro Dallas), Nuestra Pastorela (Cara Mia Theater Company), Film: Man in the Mirror, Fandango Sisters. In New York, she has served public schools, charter schools, colleges, universities, safe houses, homeless shelters, and prisons with The Public Theater, Shadow Box Theater, White Bird Productions, Creative Arts Team of CUNY, and Arts Connection. Ms. Acosta has been a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Education since 2008. Claudia will be presenting a one woman piece, “Two Arms and a Noise” developed at New York Theater Workshop at the Bucharest International Theater Platform in October of this year.




It’s always a thrill to have Charlotte Booker with us. And, for this Sunday’s service–the theme is THE FORBIDDEN–Charlotte will be freshly returned from a Shakespeare gig in Baltimore–an all female production of As You Like It. Join us Sunday (11:30 at Dixon Place) where Charlotte will be be reading something seductive, taboo and delicious…just like CHARLOTTE BOOKER!

Here’s her bio:

Charlotte Booker had the privilege of appearing on Broadway in both revivals of BORN YESTERDAY: the first with Ed Asner and Madeline Kahn, as well as the 2011 production starring Jim Belushi, Robert Sean Leonard, and Nina Arianda. Other New York credits include: LEAVE ME GREEN, TAKE ME BACK, TEN CHIMNEYS, FIVE GENOCIDES, DEATHBED, FUGUE, PSYCHO BEACH PARTY, and BITCH!, which she also wrote.

Thirty+ years of regional theatre credits include AS YOU LIKE IT (Baltimore Centerstage), CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (Cincinnati Playhouse), LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS (Theatreworks and Capitol Rep), STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Papermill Playhouse and Alley Theatre), OUR TOWN (Hartford Stage and the Alley Theatre), and leading roles at Williamstown, Denver Center, Gulfshore Playhouse, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, and more theaters all over the place.

Television: POWER (four episodes), THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, LAW AND ORDER, CI (two episodes); THIRD WATCH, MURPHY BROWN, DREW CAREY, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, LARRY SANDERS, NEWSRADIO, CHICAGO HOPE, and many more. She played Honey in the series HI HONEY, I’M HOME, which aired on ABC and Nick at Nite.

Film: a don’t-blink appearance in INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, directed by the Coen Brothers, BRAZZAVILLE TEENAGER, directed by and starring Michael Cera, LOVE AND SUPPORT, THE DAY MY PARENTS RAN AWAY, STUART BLISS, and TEMPORARY GIRL.

She holds a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and had the great good fortune to study acting in NYC with Uta Hagen, Shelley Winters, F. Murray Abraham, and Geraldine Page.


Viktorsha Uliyanova | FOOD OFFERING

Viktorsha Uliyanova

This Sunday, the theme for the service is THE FORBIDDEN. Such a rich theme for food in particular. Our offering will be provided by Viktorsha Uliyanova who’s a new friend and member of our Secret City community. She promised to make something particularly tempting. Come taste it with us this Sunday, at 11:30 at Dixon Place.

Here’s Viktorsha’s bio:

Viktorsha Uliyanova is a Russian poet and photographer based out Brooklyn, NY.
You can see more of her work at



Natasha Gornik

This Sunday’s event in NYC–the theme is THE FORBIDDEN–is going to be blessed with the work and charms of one of my favorite photographers. Natasha Gornik is a friend as well as an artist whose work we have been lucky to show before. This Sunday, we’ll be showing prints of her most recent work shot in New York City and about to be shown in Europe. The images are intimate, daring, sexy and serene–much like the artist herself. Join us this Sunday at 11:30 at Dixon Place for a sneak peak at Natasha’s new work before she looses it onto the world.

Here’s Natasha’s bio:

Natasha Gornik (b. 1976) is a Brooklyn-based visual artist. Originally from Chicago, she has spent two decades photographing, filming and writing about kink culture from the inside — creating a large body of work that has exhibited worldwide, most recently in a group show at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Her work has been covered by outlets including Vogue Japan, Diane Pernet, and Art Review. Natasha is currently feeding her brain with travels abroad, as well as with the inspiration, aspiration, and perspiration that is New York City. She is also working on a new series.



Audra Isadora

For our upcoming service — THE FORBIDDEN, this Sunday, February 21st at 11:30 at Dixon Place — we’ve got a line up of wonderful performers and artists. Our musical guest is a chanteuse who performs regularly around NYC. Audra Isadora is a sultry and dynamic showstopper with a voice as big as her personality. I’m thrilled she’s going to be part of the proceedings as we explore what is FORBIDDEN.

Here’s her bio:

With a name as big as her sound, Audra Isadora makes glam rock, 80’s pop, and
soul music all her own—and calls it GLAM*SOUL. The NYC-based sultry
powerhouse is always ready, armed with a full instrumental band, to unleash her
booming voice and vivacious vibrato, that echo Kate Bush’s eccentricity and
Annie Lennox’s sensational solo efforts.
Audra was always attracted to the unique and unconventional, realizing at age 10
that her true instrument, aside from her voice, was the oboe. Take her strikingly
quirky personality, add a BFA in musical theatre, and you’ve got the explosive
recipe of Audra Isadora in full David Bowie performance mode: “To be able to
create a character, and make theatrical musical choices based on that…and to
be able to wear a costume (and if you’re lucky, some crazy wig)…I continue to do
that in my own music now.” For Audra, her spectacular singing performance is
dramatically influenced by musical theatre and as a natural born musical artist,
she has a knack for creating outlandish characters and performing on stage a la
Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Audra Isadora’s music takes you on a musical journey, with heavy influences
ranging from jazz, blues, 90’s anti-folk, 60‘s soul to neo-soul,. The self proclaimed
“Petrie-dish love-child of Grace Jones, Billie Holliday, and David
Bowie” is now debuting her 2nd EP, “Bravely, Girl”, which delves deeply into the
feminine. “It’s about bravery in many senses; taking risks, and embracing
strength in vulnerability–and sexuality.”. “Bravely, Girl”, like much of her music, is
Audra’s campaign for feminine power, and ‘letting her freak flag fly’!